Chefoo... Memories are so clear of those days in boarding school. Homeschooling wasn't an option overseas, leaving two choices: Japanese public school or our missions boarding school in the northern island of Japan. Most chose the latter, my parents included. Getting on that airplane after saying goodbye to my family in Tokyo, my friends and I traveled north to spend the next three months at school (coming home for a month and then back for another three months).
Chefoo was every child's dream. It was an enormous piece of property that housed our home, play areas, and school rooms. The sloping hill evolved through the seasons from an Olympic track to our own private ski slope (no lift included). The woods opened our imaginations to every fort and creek, to wars and gardens, adventures of all kinds. The U-tree was our jungle gym and the zip-line our opportunity to fly.
Our teachers, Ms. Spear, Ms. Lyttle, and Ms. Woodward were more than our educators. They sacrificed daily to instill in us a love for learning. Handwriting came in the form of writing letters home. Geography flowed through embracing the land we were blessed to live in. These amazing women were an essential part of my journey to one day become a teacher too.
Uncle Gareth, Auntie Ruth, Uncle Mike, Aunt Rowena, and even my parents during my last year, were a constant source of comfort during my four and half years there. As dorm parents, they gave of themselves to an average of twenty children each year, discipling them, caring for their needs, calming dreams at night, and wiping away homesick tears.
Words cannot make a dent in the impact that this school had on my life. Little did I know that my days there would later become so instrumental in our choice of learning at home. But as Marty and I desire to teach and train our girls, glimpses of Chefoo come back...
Mud pies and forts being made in the backyard.
Tea parties with friends.
Rain boot adventures outside.
Aprons tied over dresses as cookies are made,